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How To Develop A Thought Leadership Strategy

How To Develop A Thought Leadership Strategy

By Blair Williams, founder of the WordPress membership plugin MemberPress and affiliate program plugin Easy Affiliate.

You've likely heard of the importance of being a thought leader. Perhaps you've made a few LinkedIn posts, published guest posts or shared interesting content on social media. 

But it isn't enough to post intermittently and without a plan. The best way to become a successful thought leader is to strategize the process. Here are my tips on becoming a thought leader. We'll begin by defining thought leadership and learning why it matters.

What is thought leadership, and how does it benefit entrepreneurs?

Thought leadership is when businesses and individuals create a strong brand where the audience perceives them as experts, authority figures and leading thinkers in a niche. Becoming a thought leader can provide several benefits:

• You create trust in your audience and build your personal and business's brand credibility online.

• You build goodwill in your community by sharing insights and timely advice. 

• It becomes easier to connect with the other decision-makers as you will have a strong reputation already.

• You get media opportunities and the possibility of free publicity, which can result in more backlinks to your website.

• You can attract great talent to your company, as they will want to associate with a reputable brand. 

There are many more benefits—too many to list completely. But this should give you a peek into how powerful a thought leadership strategy can be. Now, let's look at how to build one that creates visibility and greater authority.

1. It all starts with a goal.

Like any other strategy, a thought leadership strategy must have an overarching goal to guide your efforts. For example, your goal could be to become an industry authority. 

To achieve this goal, your strategy will likely focus on research, content creation with the intent to share powerful industry data and participating in industry trade shows, among other steps. 

If your goal is to build your brand image or recall, you might adopt a multichannel approach and focus on less serious (but just as important) content to reach your audience. In this way, your goal forms the foundation of your strategy and should be seriously thought over. 

2. Find your niche and stick to it.

Most thought leaders aren't generalists. They have expertise in a specific area and focus their efforts on that niche. This is because it's easier to be an authority figure in a specific area than trying to cover a vast array of topics. Not to mention, most people can only be an expert in one or a few things.

Sure, you don't have to limit yourself to one niche, but keep them related and relevant to your brand and goals. For example, if you're a tech entrepreneur, you could focus on thought leadership within AI technology or blockchain rather than everything in tech.

Having a specific niche is also important if you want to connect better with your audience. They're looking for specific information and expertise, not general knowledge.

3. Plan your content creation and distribution.

Thought leadership boils down to creating and sharing valuable content. One of the best ways to do this is with a content calendar. A content calendar, even one as simple as a spreadsheet with topics, dates and platforms, can help you stay organized and consistent in your content creation.

And don't forget that content distribution is as important as creation. Identify the channels where your audience is most active and optimize your content for maximum reach.

A premium content calendar tool can connect your many online networks in one place. That is, you can publish to LinkedIn, Instagram, X and so on from a single dashboard. This will take care of your content distribution, saving you time and stress.

Bonus point: Consider joining platforms where you can answer questions with expert insights. Your answers could appear in various publications, boosting your visibility.

4. Share unique insights.

Your audience is looking for something new and insightful. Instead of rehashing what's been said before, add your own angle or even just your experience to the topic.

Make bold statements in your content, back them up with data and information and provide actionable insights that will benefit your audience. Also, try to share new or cutting-edge information to stay relevant and attract organic traffic.

When planning your content creation, ensure your topic ideas aren't generic or overdone but rather fresh and thought-provoking.

5. Collaborate and network.

Creating content is not the only important aspect of your thought leadership strategy. You should also plan to work with other thought leaders and influencers to scale up and speed up your reach and impact.

Collaborate on blog posts, podcasts or webinars, and share each other's content to expand your network and connect with new audiences.

6. Engage with your audience.

Finally, you have to plan to engage with your audience regularly. This is more than just posting content and waiting for reactions. Set aside an hour a day or perhaps a few days a week to respond to comments, answer questions and share thoughts with your audience. This can help you build a relationship with them, earn their trust and loyalty and show your expertise in real time.


Becoming a thought leader is a lot of work, but it's what you have to do if you want to move to the next level of growth and success as an entrepreneur. It's not just about sharing content or being popular online—it goes beyond a social media campaign or strategy. It's about establishing yourself as a trusted authority in your industry and building a strong personal and business brand.

Work out the tips shared here into a document and define each part as closely as you can. With diligence and consistency, you can become the go-to expert in your field and reap all the benefits that come with great thought leadership. 

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